Vyacheslav Molotov

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov[a] (/ˈmɒləˌtɒf, ˈmoʊ-/;[1] Skryabin;[b] 9 March 1890 – 8 November 1986)[2] was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity.

Molotov was the principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939 (also known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact), whose most important provisions were added in the form of a secret protocol that stipulated an invasion of Poland and partition of its territory between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. He was aware of the Katyn massacre committed by the Soviet authorities during this period.

After World War II (Great Patriotic War), Molotov was involved in negotiations with the Western allies, in which he became noted for his diplomatic skills. He retained his place as a leading Soviet diplomat and politician until March 1949, when he fell out of Stalin's favour and lost the foreign affairs ministry leadership to Andrei Vyshinsky. Molotov's relationship with Stalin deteriorated further, with Stalin criticising Molotov in a speech to the 19th Party Congress. However, after Stalin's death in 1953, Molotov was staunchly opposed to Khrushchev's de-Stalinisation policy. Molotov defended Stalin's policies and legacy until his death in 1986, and harshly criticised Stalin's successors, especially Khrushchev.

Vyacheslav Molotov

Vyacheslav Molotov Anefo2
Chairman of the Council of
People's Commissars of the Soviet Union
In office
19 December 1930 – 6 May 1941
Preceded byAlexei Rykov
Succeeded byJoseph Stalin
First Deputy Chairman of the
Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
In office
16 August 1942 – 29 June 1957
PremierJoseph Stalin
Georgy Malenkov
Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded byNikolai Voznesensky
Succeeded byNikolai Bulganin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
3 May 1939 – 4 March 1949
PremierJoseph Stalin
Preceded byMaxim Litvinov
Succeeded byAndrey Vyshinsky
In office
5 March 1953 – 1 June 1956
PremierGeorgy Malenkov
Nikolai Bulganin
Preceded byAndrey Vyshinsky
Succeeded byDmitri Shepilov
Additional positions
Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
April 1922 – December 1930
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byLazar Kaganovich
Responsible Secretary of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)
In office
March 1921 – April 1922
Preceded byNikolay Krestinsky
Succeeded byJoseph Stalin
(as general secretary)
Full member of the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th Presidium
In office
1 January 1926 – 29 June 1957
Candidate member of the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th Politburo
In office
16 March 1921 – 1 January 1926
Full member of the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th Secretariat
In office
16 March 1921 – 21 December 1930
Full member of the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th Orgburo
In office
16 March 1921 – 21 December 1930
Personal details
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin

9 March 1890
Kukarka, Russian Empire
Died8 November 1986 (aged 96)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s)Polina Zhemchuzhina
AwardsOrder of the Badge of Honour
Vyacheslav Molotov's signature


Early life and career (1890–1930)

Molotov house Kukarka
Molotov's birth house in Sovetsk, Kirov Oblast.

Molotov was born Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin in the village of Kukarka, Yaransk Uyezd, Vyatka Governorate (now Sovetsk in Kirov Oblast), the son of a butter churner. Contrary to a commonly repeated error, he was not related to the composer Alexander Scriabin.[3] Throughout his teen years, he was described as "shy" and "quiet", always assisting his father with his business. He was educated at a secondary school in Kazan, and joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in 1906, soon gravitating toward that organisation's radical Bolshevik faction, headed by V. I. Lenin.[4]

Skryabin took the pseudonym "Molotov", derived from the Russian word молот molot (hammer), since he believed that the name has an "industrial" and "proletarian" ring to it.[4] He was arrested in 1909 and spent two years in exile in Vologda. In 1911, he enrolled at St Petersburg Polytechnic. Molotov joined the editorial staff of a new underground Bolshevik newspaper called Pravda, meeting Joseph Stalin for the first time in association with the project.[5] This first association between the two future Soviet leaders proved to be brief, however, and did not lead to an immediate close political association.[5]

Molotov VM
Molotov in 1917

Molotov worked as a so-called "professional revolutionary" for the next several years, writing for the party press and attempting to better organize the underground party.[5] He moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1914 at the time of the outbreak of World War I.[5] It was in Moscow the following year that Molotov was again arrested for his party activity, this time being deported to Irkutsk in eastern Siberia.[5] In 1916, he escaped from his Siberian exile and returned to the capital city, now called Petrograd by the Tsarist regime, which thought the name St. Petersburg sounded excessively German.[5]

Molotov became a member of the Bolshevik Party's committee in Petrograd in 1916. When the February Revolution occurred in 1917, he was one of the few Bolsheviks of any standing in the capital. Under his direction Pravda took to the "left" to oppose the Provisional Government formed after the revolution. When Joseph Stalin returned to the capital, he reversed Molotov's line;[6] but when the party leader Lenin arrived, he overruled Stalin. Despite this, Molotov became a protégé of and close adherent to Stalin, an alliance to which he owed his later prominence.[7] Molotov became a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee which planned the October Revolution, which effectively brought the Bolsheviks to power.[8]

In 1918, Molotov was sent to Ukraine to take part in the civil war then breaking out. Since he was not a military man, he took no part in the fighting. In 1920, he became secretary to the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Bolshevik Party. Lenin recalled him to Moscow in 1921, elevating him to full membership of the Central Committee and Orgburo, and putting him in charge of the party secretariat. He was voted in as a non-voting member of the Politburo in 1921 and held the office of Responsible Secretary and also married Soviet politician Polina Zhemchuzhina.

Molotov 1925
Molotov speaks at the meeting of peasant women. 1925

His Responsible Secretaryship was criticised by Lenin and Leon Trotsky, with Lenin noting his "shameful bureaucratism" and stupid behaviour.[3] On the advice of Molotov and Nikolai Bukharin, the Central Committee decided to reduce Lenin's work hours.[9] In 1922, Stalin became general secretary of the Bolshevik Party with Molotov as the de facto Second Secretary. As a young follower, Molotov admired Stalin but did not refrain from criticizing him.[10] Under Stalin's patronage, Molotov became a member of the Politburo in 1926.[7]

During the power struggles which followed Lenin's death in 1924, Molotov remained a loyal supporter of Stalin against his various rivals: first Leon Trotsky, later Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, and finally Nikolai Bukharin. Molotov became a leading figure in the "Stalinist centre" of the party, which also included Kliment Voroshilov and Sergo Ordzhonikidze.[11] Trotsky and his supporters underestimated Molotov, as did many others. Trotsky called him "mediocrity personified", whilst Molotov himself pedantically corrected comrades referring to him as 'Stone Arse' by saying that Lenin had actually dubbed him 'Iron Arse'.[3]

However, this outward dullness concealed a sharp mind and great administrative talent. He operated mainly behind the scenes and cultivated an image of a colourless bureaucrat – for example, he was the only Bolshevik leader who always wore a suit and tie.[12] In 1928, Molotov replaced Nikolai Uglanov as First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party and held that position until 15 August 1929.[13] In a lengthy address to the Central Committee in 1929, Molotov told the members the Soviet government would initiate a compulsory collectivisation campaign to solve the agrarian backwardness of Soviet agriculture.[14]

Premiership (1930–1941)

Molotov as premier.

During the Central Committee plenum of 19 December 1930, Alexey Rykov, the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (the equivalent of a Western head of government) was succeeded by Molotov.[15] In this post, Molotov oversaw the Stalin regime's collectivisation of agriculture. He followed Stalin's line by using a combination of force and propaganda to crush peasant resistance to collectivisation, including the deportation of millions of kulaks (peasants with property) to gulags. An enormous number of the deportees died from exposure and overwork.[16] He signed the Law of Spikelets[17] and personally led the Extraordinary Commission for Grain Delivery in Ukraine,[18] which seized a reported 4.2 million tonnes of grain from the peasants during a widespread manmade famine (later known as the "Holodomor" to Ukrainians).[17] Contemporary historians estimate that between seven and eleven million people died, either of starvation or in gulags,[17] in the process of farm collectivization. Molotov also oversaw the implementation of the First Five-Year Plan for rapid industrialisation.[19]

Voroshilov Kaganovich Kosarev Molotov 1932
Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, Alexander Kosarev and Vyacheslav Molotov on the 7th Conference of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League (Komsomol). Jul 1932.

Sergei Kirov, head of the Party organisation in Leningrad, was killed in 1934;[20] some believed Stalin ordered his death. Kirov's death triggered a second crisis, the Great Purge.[21] In 1938, out of the 28 People's Commissars in Molotov's Government, 20 were executed on the orders of Molotov and Stalin.[22] The purges were carried out by Stalin's successive police chiefs;[23] Nikolai Yezhov was the chief organiser, and Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, and Molotov were intimately involved in the processes.[24] Stalin frequently required Molotov and other Politburo members to sign the death warrants of prominent purge victims, and Molotov always did so without question.[25]

There is no record of Molotov attempting to moderate the course of the purges or even to save individuals, as some other Soviet officials did. During the Great Purge, he approved 372 documented execution lists, more than any other Soviet official, including Stalin. Molotov was one of few with whom Stalin openly discussed the purges.[26] Although Molotov and Stalin signed a public decree in 1938 that disassociated them from the ongoing Great Purge,[27] in private, and even after Stalin's death, Molotov supported the Great Purge and the executions carried out by his government.[28]

Despite the great human cost,[29] the Soviet Union under Molotov's nominal premiership made great strides in the adoption and widespread implementation of agrarian and industrial technology. The rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany precipitated the development of a modern armaments industry on the orders of the Soviet government.[30] Ultimately, it was this arms industry, along with American Lend-Lease aid, which helped the Soviet Union prevail in the World War II.[31]

Vycheslav Molotov and Joseph Stalin May 1932
Vycheslav Molotov (Skrybin), Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (Prime Minister) and Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1932. Both signed mass execution lists (Album procedure): Molotov signed 373 lists and Stalin signed 362 lists.

Set against this, the purges of the Red Army leadership, in which Molotov participated, weakened the Soviet Union's defence capacity and contributed to the military disasters of 1941 and 1942, which were mostly caused by unreadiness for war.[32] The purges also led to the dismantling of privatised agriculture and its replacement by collectivised agriculture. This left a legacy of chronic agricultural inefficiencies and under-production which the Soviet regime never fully rectified.[33]

Molotov was reported to be a vegetarian and teetotaler by American journalist John Gunther in 1938.[34] However, Milovan Djilas claimed that Molotov "drank more than Stalin"[35] and did not note his vegetarianism despite attending several banquets with him.

Minister of Foreign Affairs (1939–1949)

In 1939, following the 1938 Munich Agreement and Hitler's subsequent invasion of Czechoslovakia, Stalin believed that Britain and France would not be reliable allies against German expansion so he instead sought to conciliate Nazi Germany.[36] In May 1939, Maxim Litvinov, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, was dismissed; it is not certain why Litvinov was dismissed but it was discussed in Ch. 14 of J. Holroyd-Doveton's biography of Maxim Litvinov.[37] Molotov was appointed to succeed him.[38] Relations between Molotov and Litvinov had been bad,[39] which is corroborated by a number of sources. Maurice Hindus, in 1954, was perhaps the first person outside the Soviet Union to understand this hostility. In his book Crisis in the Kremlin, he states:

It is well known in Moscow that Molotov always detested Litvinov. Molotov's detestation for Litvinov was purely of a personal nature. No Moscovite I have ever known, whether a friend of Molotov or of Litvinov, has ever taken exception to this view. Molotov was always resentful of Livinov's fluency in French, German and English, as he was distrustful of Litvinov's easy manner with foreigners. Never having lived abroad, Molotov always suspected that there was something impure and sinful in Litvinov's broad mindedness and appreciation of Western civilisation.[40]

Although Litvinov never mentioned his relation with Molotov in the foreign commissariat, Narkomindel press officer Genedin states: even though Litvinov never referred to their relationship (between Litvinov and Molotov) it was nevertheless well known they were bad. Litvinov had no respect for small minded intriguer and accomplice in terror like Molotov, and Molotov for his part had no love for Litvinov who incidentally was the one people's commissioner to retain his independence.[41]

Great Purge Stalin Voroshilov Kaganovich Zhdanov Molotov
A list from the Great Purge signed by Molotov, Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich and Zhdanov

Molotov was succeeded in his post as Premier by Stalin.[42]

At first, Hitler rebuffed Soviet diplomatic hints that Stalin desired a treaty; but in early August 1939, Hitler authorised Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to begin serious negotiations. A trade agreement was concluded on 18 August; and on 22 August, Ribbentrop flew to Moscow to conclude a formal non-aggression treaty. Although the treaty is known as the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, it was Stalin and Hitler, and not Molotov and Ribbentrop, who decided the content of the treaty.

The most important part of the agreement was the secret protocol, which provided for the partition of Poland, Finland, and the Baltic States between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and for the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia (then part of Romania, now Moldova).[38] This protocol gave Hitler the green light for his invasion of Poland, which began on 1 September.[43] On 5 March 1940, Lavrentiy Beria gave Molotov, along with Anastas Mikoyan, Kliment Voroshilov and Stalin, a note ordering the execution of 25,700 Polish officers and anti-Soviets, in what has become known as the Katyn massacre.[42]

Under the Pact's terms, Hitler was, in effect, given authorisation to occupy two-thirds of Western Poland, as well as Lithuania. Molotov was given a free hand in relation to Finland. In the Winter War that ensued, a combination of fierce Finnish resistance and Soviet mismanagement resulted in Finland losing parts of its territory, but not its independence.[44] The Pact was later amended to allocate Lithuania to the Soviet sphere in exchange for a more favourable border in Poland. These annexations led to horrific suffering and loss of life in the countries occupied and partitioned by the two dictatorships.[45]

In November 1940, Stalin sent Molotov to Berlin to meet Ribbentrop and Adolf Hitler. In January 1941, the British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden visited Turkey in an attempt to get the Turks to enter the war on the Allies' side. Though the purpose of Eden's visit was anti-German rather than anti-Soviet, Molotov assumed otherwise, and in a series of conversations with the Italian Ambassador Augusto Rosso, Molotov claimed that the Soviet Union would soon be faced with an Anglo–Turkish invasion of the Crimea. The British historian D.C. Watt argued that, on the basis of Molotov's statements to Rosso, it would appear that, in early 1941, Stalin and Molotov viewed Britain rather than Germany as the principal threat.[46]

The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact governed Soviet–German relations until June 1941 when Hitler, having occupied France and neutralised Britain, turned east and attacked the Soviet Union.[47] Molotov was responsible for telling the Soviet people of the attack, when he instead of Stalin announced the war. His speech, broadcast by radio on 22 June, characterised the Soviet Union in a role similar to that articulated for Britain by Winston Churchill in his early wartime speeches.[48] The State Defence Committee was established soon after Molotov's speech; Stalin was elected chairman and Molotov was elected deputy chairman.[49]

Molotov with Ribbentrop
Molotov meets with Joachim von Ribbentrop before signing the German–Soviet non-aggression pact

Following the German invasion, Molotov conducted urgent negotiations with Britain and, later, the United States for wartime alliances. He took a secret flight to Glasgow, Scotland, where he was greeted by Eden. This risky flight, in a high altitude Tupolev TB-7 bomber, flew over German-occupied Denmark and the North Sea. From there, he took a train to London to discuss with the British government the possibility of opening a second front against Germany.

After signing the Anglo–Soviet Treaty of 1942 on 26 May, Molotov left for Washington, D.C., United States. Molotov met with Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, and ratified a Lend-Lease Treaty between the USSR and the US. Both the British and the United States government, albeit vaguely, promised to open up a second front against Germany. On his flight back to the USSR his plane was attacked by German fighters, and then later by Soviet fighters.[50]

When Beria told Stalin about the Manhattan Project and its importance, Stalin handpicked Molotov to be the man in charge of the Soviet atomic bomb project. However, under Molotov's leadership the bomb, and the project itself, developed very slowly, and Molotov was replaced by Beria in 1944 on the advice of Igor Kurchatov.[51] When Harry S. Truman, the American president, told Stalin that the Americans had created a bomb never seen before, Stalin relayed the conversation to Molotov and told him to speed up development. On Stalin's orders, the Soviet government substantially increased investment in the project.[52][53]In a collaboration with Kliment Voroshilov, Molotov contributed both musically and lyrically to the 1944 version of the Soviet national anthem. Molotov asked the writers to include a line or two about peace. Molotov's and Voroshilov's role in the making of the new Soviet anthem was, in the words of historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, acting as music judges for Stalin.[54]

Molotov accompanied Stalin to the Teheran Conference in 1943,[55] the Yalta Conference in 1945,[56] and, following the defeat of Germany, the Potsdam Conference.[57] He represented the Soviet Union at the San Francisco Conference, which created the United Nations.[58] Even during the period of wartime alliance, Molotov was known as a tough negotiator and a determined defender of Soviet interests. Molotov lost his position of First Deputy Chairman on March 19, 1946, after the Council of People's Commissars was reformed as the Council of Ministers.

From 1945 to 1947, Molotov took part in all four conferences of foreign ministers of the victorious states in World War II. In general, he was distinguished by an uncooperative attitude towards the Western powers. Molotov, at the direction of the Soviet government, condemned the Marshall Plan as imperialistic and claimed it was dividing Europe into two camps, one capitalist and the other communist. In response, the Soviet Union, along with the other Eastern Bloc nations, initiated what is known as the Molotov Plan. The plan created several bilateral relations between the states of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; and later evolved into the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA).[59]

Polina Zhemchuzhina
Molotov with his wife Polina

In the postwar period, Molotov's power began to decline. A clear sign of Molotov's precarious position was his inability to prevent the arrest in December, 1948, for "treason" of his Jewish wife, Polina Zhemchuzhina, whom Stalin had long distrusted.[60] Molotov never stopped loving his wife, and it is said he ordered his maids to make dinner for two every evening to remind him that, in his own words, "she suffered because of me".[61]

Polina Zhemchuzhina befriended Golda Meir, who arrived in Moscow in November, 1948, as the first Israeli envoy to the USSR.[62] According to a close collaborator of Molotov, Vladimir Erofeev,[63] Golda Meir met privately with Polina, who had been her schoolmate in St. Petersburg. Immediately afterwards, Polina was arrested and accused of ties with Zionist organisations; she was kept one year in the Lubyanka, after which she was exiled for three years in an obscure Russian city. Molotov had no communication with her, save for the scant news that Beria, whom he loathed, told him. She was freed immediately after the death of Stalin.[64] According to Erofeev, Molotov said of her: "She's not only beautiful and intelligent, the only woman minister in the Soviet Union; she's also a real Bolshevik, a real Soviet person." In 1949, Molotov was replaced as Foreign Minister by Andrey Vyshinsky, although retaining his position as First Deputy Premier and membership of the Politburo.[61]

Post-war career (1949–1976)

At the 19th Party Congress in 1952, Molotov was elected to the replacement for the Politburo, the Presidium, but was not listed among the members of the newly established secret body known as the Bureau of the Presidium; indicating that he had fallen out of Stalin's favour.[65] At the 19th Congress, Molotov and Anastas Mikoyan were said by Stalin to have committed grave mistakes, including the publication of a wartime speech by Winston Churchill favourable to the Soviet Union's wartime efforts.[66] Both Molotov and Mikoyan were falling out of favour rapidly, with Stalin telling Beria, Khrushchev, Malenkov and Nikolai Bulganin that he did not want to see Molotov and Mikoyan around anymore. At his 73rd birthday, Stalin treated both with disgust.[67] In his speech to the 20th Party Congress in 1956, Khrushchev told delegates that Stalin had plans for "finishing off" Molotov and Mikoyan in the aftermath of the 19th Congress.[68]

Following Stalin's death, a realignment of the leadership strengthened Molotov's position. Georgy Malenkov, Stalin's successor in the post of Premier, reappointed Molotov as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 5 March 1953.[69] Although Molotov was seen as a likely successor to Stalin in the immediate aftermath of his death, he never sought to become leader of the Soviet Union.[70] A Troika was established immediately after Stalin's death, consisting of Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov,[71] but ended when Malenkov and Molotov deceived Beria.[72] Molotov supported the removal and later the execution of Beria on the orders of Khrushchev.[73] The new Party Secretary, Khrushchev, soon emerged as the new leader of the Soviet Union. He presided over a gradual domestic liberalisation and a thaw in foreign policy, as was manifest in a reconciliation with Josip Broz Tito's government in Yugoslavia, which Stalin had expelled from the communist movement. Molotov, an old-guard Stalinist, seemed increasingly out of place in the new environment,[74] but he represented the Soviet Union at the Geneva Conference of 1955.[75]

Molotov's position became increasingly tenuous after February 1956, when Khrushchev launched an unexpected denunciation of Stalin at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party. Khrushchev attacked Stalin both over the purges of the 1930s and the defeats of the early years of World War II, which he blamed on Stalin's overly trusting attitude towards Hitler and his purges of the Red Army command structure. As Molotov was the most senior of Stalin's collaborators still in government and had played a leading role in the purges, it became evident that Khrushchev's examination of the past would probably result in Molotov's fall from power, and he became the leader of an old guard faction that sought to overthrow Khrushchev.[76]

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-33241-0001, Moskau, Gala-Vorstellung für BRD-Regierungsdelegation
Molotov (far left) with Khrushchev (second from right) and Premier Nikolai Bulganin (to the left of Khrushchev) in 1955 at a gala reception in Moscow for the visit of West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (centre)

In June 1956, Molotov was removed as Foreign Minister;[77] on 29 June 1957, he was expelled from the Presidium (Politburo) after a failed attempt to remove Khrushchev as First Secretary. Although Molotov's faction initially won a vote in the Presidium, 7–4, to remove Khrushchev, the latter refused to resign unless a Central Committee plenum decided so.[78] In the plenum, which met from 22 to 29 June, Molotov and his faction were defeated.[76] Eventually he was banished, being made ambassador to the Mongolian People's Republic.[78] Molotov and his associates were denounced as "the Anti-Party Group" but, notably, were not subject to such unpleasant repercussions as had been customary for denounced officials in the Stalin years. In 1960, he was appointed Soviet representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was seen as a partial rehabilitation.[79] However, after the 22nd Party Congress in 1961, during which Khrushchev carried out his de-Stalinisation campaign, including the removal of Stalin's body from Lenin's Mausoleum, Molotov (along with Lazar Kaganovich) was removed from all positions and expelled from the Communist Party.[65] In 1962, all of Molotov's party documents and files were destroyed by the authorities.[80]

In retirement, Molotov remained unrepentant about his role under Stalin's rule.[81] He suffered a heart attack in January 1962. After the Sino-Soviet split, it was reported that he agreed with the criticisms made by Mao Zedong of the supposed "revisionism" of Khrushchev's policies. According to Roy Medvedev, Stalin's daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva recalled Molotov's wife telling her: "Your father was a genius. There's no revolutionary spirit around nowadays, just opportunism everywhere"[82] and "China's our only hope. Only they have kept alive the revolutionary spirit".[83]


In 1968, United Press International reported that Molotov had completed his memoirs, but that they would likely never be published.[84] The first signs of a rehabilitation were seen during Leonid Brezhnev's rule, when information about him was again allowed to be included in Soviet encyclopaedias. His connection, support and work in the Anti-Party Group was mentioned in encyclopedias published in 1973 and 1974, but eventually disappeared altogether by the mid-to-late-1970s. Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko further rehabilitated Molotov;[85] in 1984 Molotov was even allowed to seek membership in the Communist Party.[86] A collection of interviews with Molotov from 1985 was published in 1994 by Felix Chuev as Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. In June 1986, Molotov was hospitalized in Kuntsevo hospital in Moscow and he died, during the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev, on 8 November 1986.[87][88] During his long life Molotov suffered seven myocardial infarctions, but lived to 96 years and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow.[81]

Molotov, like Stalin, was pathologically mistrustful of others, and because of it, much crucial information disappeared. As Molotov once said, "One should listen to them, but it is necessary to check up on them. The intelligence officer can lead you to a very dangerous position... There are many provocateurs here, there, and everywhere."[89] Molotov continued to claim, in a series of published interviews, that there never was a secret territorial deal between Stalin and Hitler during the Nazi–Soviet Pact.[90] Like Stalin, he never recognised the Cold War as an international event. He saw the Cold War as, more or less, the everyday conflict between communism and capitalism. He divided the capitalist countries into two groups, the "smart and dangerous imperialists" and the "fools".[91] Before his retirement, Molotov proposed establishing a socialist confederation with the People's Republic of China (PRC); Molotov believed socialist states were part of a bigger, supranational entity.[92] In retirement, Molotov criticised Nikita Khrushchev for being a "right-wing deviationist".[93]

The Molotov cocktail is a term coined by the Finns during the Winter War, as a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons.[94] During the Winter War, the Soviet air force made extensive use of incendiaries and cluster bombs against Finnish troops and fortifications. When Molotov claimed in radio broadcasts that they were not bombing, but rather delivering food to the starving Finns, the Finns started to call the air bombs Molotov bread baskets.[95] Soon they responded by attacking advancing tanks with "Molotov cocktails," which were "a drink to go with the food." According to Montefiore, the Molotov cocktail was one part of Molotov's "cult of personality that the vain Premier surely did not appreciate."[96]

Winston Churchill in his wartime memoirs lists many meetings with Molotov. Acknowledging him as a "man of outstanding ability and cold-blooded ruthlessness," Churchill concluded: "In the conduct of foreign affairs, Mazarin, Talleyrand, Metternich, would welcome him to their company, if there be another world to which Bolsheviks allow themselves to go."[97]

At the end of 1989, two years before the final collapse of the Soviet Union, the Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union and Mikhail Gorbachev's government formally denounced the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.[98]

In January 2010 a Ukrainian court accused Molotov and other Soviet officials of organizing a man-made famine in Ukraine in 1932–33. The same Court then ended criminal proceedings against them, as the trial would be posthumous.[99]

Decorations and awards

See also


  1. ^ Russian: Вячесла́в Миха́йлович Мо́лотов, IPA: [vʲɪt͡ɕɪˈslaf mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪt͡ɕ ˈmolətəf]
  2. ^ Russian: Скря́бин


  1. ^ "Molotov". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ Jessup, John E. (1998). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313281129.
  3. ^ a b c Montefiore 2005, p. 40.
  4. ^ a b Geoffrey Roberts, Molotov: Stalin's Cold Warrior. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2012; pg. 5.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Roberts, Molotov, pg. 6.
  6. ^ Молотов, Вячеслав Михайлович [Mikhailovich Molotov, Vyacheslav] (in Russian). warheroes.ru. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  7. ^ a b Montefiore 2005, p. 36.
  8. ^ Molotov, Vyacheslav; Chuev, Felix; Resis, Albert (1993). Molotov remembers: inside Kremlin politics: conversations with Felix Chuev. I.R. Dee. p. 94. ISBN 1-56663-027-4.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Service 2003, p. 151.
  10. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 40–41.
  11. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 36–37.
  12. ^ Rywkin, Michael (1989). Soviet Society Today. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 159–160.
  13. ^ Service 2003, p. 176.
  14. ^ Service 2003, p. 179.
  15. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 63–64.
  16. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 47.
  17. ^ a b c Montefiore 2005, p. 94.
  18. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 46.
  19. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 45 and 58.
  20. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 148–149.
  21. ^ Brown 2009, p. 71.
  22. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 244.
  23. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 222.
  24. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 240.
  25. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 237.
  26. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 225.
  27. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 289.
  28. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 260.
  29. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 125.
  30. ^ Scott Dunn, Walter (1995). The Soviet economy and the Red Army, 1930–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 22. ISBN 0-275-94893-5.
  31. ^ William Davies, Robert; Harrison, Mark; Wheatcroft, S.G. (1994). The Economic transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913–1945. Cambridge University Press. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0-521-45770-X.
  32. ^ Brown 2009, p. 65.
  33. ^ "Stalin's legacy". country-data.com. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  34. ^ http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=58 In 1938 American journalist John Gunther wrote: " He [Molotov] is... a man of first-rate intelligence and influence. Molotov is a vegetarian and a teetotaler."
  35. ^ Djilas Milovan: Conversations with Stalin. Translated by Michael B. Petrovich. Rupert Hart-Davis, Soho Square London 1962, pp. 59.
  36. ^ Brown 2009, pp. 90–91.
  37. ^ John Holroyd-Doveton Maxim Litvinov ch 14 p.351-359
  38. ^ a b Service 2003, p. 256.
  39. ^ John Holroyd-Doveton Maxim Litvinov P.488
  40. ^ Hindus Maurice Crisis in the Kremlin
  41. ^ Medvedev All Stalin's Men p.488
  42. ^ a b Brown 2009, p. 141.
  43. ^ Brown 2009, pp. 90–92.
  44. ^ Service 2003, pp. 256–257.
  45. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 320, 322 and 342.
  46. ^ Cameron Watt, Donald (2004). Russia War, Peace and Diplomacy. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 276–286. ISBN 0-415-14435-3.
  47. ^ Service 2003, pp. 158–160.
  48. ^ Service 2003, p. 261.
  49. ^ Service 2003, p. 262.
  50. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 417–418.
  51. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 508.
  52. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 510.
  53. ^ Zhukov, Georgi Konstantinovich. "The Memoirs of Marshal Zhukov." New York: Delacorte Press, 1971.
  54. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 468.
  55. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 472.
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  57. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 507.
  58. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 477.
  59. ^ Roberts, Geoffrey (1999). The Soviet Union in world politics: coexistence, revolution, and cold war, 1945–1991. Routledge. pp. 284–285. ISBN 0-415-14435-3.
  60. ^ Brown 2009, pp. 199–201.
  61. ^ a b Montefiore 2005, p. 604.
  62. ^ Johnson, Paul (1987), A History of the Jews, p. 527
  63. ^ V. Erofeev, Diplomat, Moskva, 2005
  64. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 666.
  65. ^ a b Brown 2009, p. 231.
  66. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 640.
  67. ^ Montefiore 2005, pp. 645–647.
  68. ^ "Russia: The Survivor". Time. 16 September 1957. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
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  71. ^ Marlowe, Lynn Elizabeth (2005). GED Social Studies: The Best Study Series for GED. Research and Education Association. p. 140. ISBN 0-7386-0127-6.
  72. ^ Taubman, William (2003). Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 258. ISBN 0-393-32484-2.
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  74. ^ Brown 2009, pp. 236–237.
  75. ^ Bischof, Günter; Dockrill, Saki (2000). Cold War respite: the Geneva Summit of 1955. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 284–285. ISBN 0-8071-2370-6.
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  79. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 668.
  80. ^ Goudoever 1986, p. 100.
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  82. ^ Nikolaevna Vasilʹeva, Larisa (1994). Kremlin wives. Arcade Publishing. p. 159.
  83. ^ Medvedev, Roy (1984). All Stalin's Men. Anchor Press/Doubleday. p. 109. ISBN 0-385-18388-7.
  84. ^ Shapiro, Henry (August 29, 1968). "Rare Historic Memoir May Never See Light". The Daily Colonist (Victoria, Canada). United Press International. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  85. ^ "12 July 1984* (Pb)". wordpress.com. 1 July 2016.
  86. ^ Goudoever 1986, p. 108.
  87. ^ Человек, который знал всё. Личное дело наркома Молотова aif.ru. 09/03/2014.
  88. ^ Times, Raymond H. Anderson and Special To the New York. "VYACHESLAV M. MOLOTOV IS DEAD; CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF STALIN WAS 96". nytimes.com.
  89. ^ Zubok & Pleshakov 1996, p. 88.
  90. ^ Felix, Chuev (1993). Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics – Conversations with Felix Cheuv. Chicago, IL. p. 84.
  91. ^ Zubok & Pleshakov 1996, p. 89.
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  93. ^ Zubok & Pleshakov 1996, p. 90.
  94. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 335.
  95. ^ Langdon-Davies, John (June 1940). "The Lessons of Finland". Picture Post.
  96. ^ Montefiore 2005, p. 328.
  97. ^ Churchill, Winston (1948). The Gathering Storm. 1. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 368–369. ISBN 0-395-41055-X.
  98. ^ W. Borejsza, Jerzy; Ziemer, Klaus; Hułas, Magdalena (2006). Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes in Europe. Berghahn Books. p. 521. ISBN 1-57181-641-0.
  99. ^ Kyiv court accuses Stalin leadership of organizing famine, Kyiv Post (13 January 2010)

Further reading

  • Brown, Archie (2009). The Rise & Fall of Communism. Bodley Head.
  • van Goudoever, A.P. (1986). The limits of destalinization in the Soviet Union: political rehabilitations in the Soviet Union since Stalin. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-7099-2629-4.
  • McCauley, Martin. Who's Who in Russia since 1900 (1997) pp 146–47
  • Roberts, Geoffrey. Molotov: Stalin's Cold Warrior (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2012)
  • Sebag-Montefiore, Simon (2005). Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Vintage Books. ISBN 1-4000-7678-1.
  • Service, Robert (2003). History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-first Century. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-103797-0.
  • Martinovich Zubok, Vladislav; Pleshakov, Konstantin (1996). Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: from Stalin to Khrushchev. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-45531-2.

Primary sources

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Alexey Rykov
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars
Succeeded by
Joseph Stalin
Preceded by
Maxim Litvinov
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Andrey Vyshinsky
Preceded by
Andrey Vyshinsky
Succeeded by
Dmitri Shepilov
Preceded by
Vasiliy Pisarev
Soviet Ambassador to Mongolia
Succeeded by
Alexei Khvorostukhin
Preceded by
Leonid Zamiatin
Soviet Representative to International Atomic Energy Agency
Succeeded by
Panteleimon Ponomarenko
Party political offices
Preceded by
position created
Secretary of the Communist Party of Donetsk Governorate
Succeeded by
Andrei Radchenko
Preceded by
Stanislav Kosior (temporary)
1st Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine
Succeeded by
Feliks Kon (acting)
Preceded by
Nikolai Uglanov
Secretary of the Communist Party of Moscow Governorate
Succeeded by
Karl Bauman
14th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)

The 14th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) was held during 18–31 December 1925 in Moscow. The congress elected the 14th Central Committee.

The agenda of the congress included:

the political report of the Central Committee, delivered by Josef Stalin;

the organizational report of the Central Committee, read by Vyacheslav Molotov;

the report of the Auditing Commission, given by Dmitry Kursky;

the report of the Central Control Commission, presented by Valerian Kuybyshev;

the report of the RCP(B) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern, read by Grigory ZinovievMoreover, Mikhail Tomsky gave an account of the work of the trade unions, Nikolai Bukharin reported on the efforts of the Komsomol, and A. A. Andreev discussed changes of the party rules.

In another session the congress heard Georgy Chicherin’s report on the international situation and Soviet foreign policy.

This congress was marked by the struggle between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky for control of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks).

1940 Finnish presidential election

Early and indirect presidential elections were held in Finland in 1940 after President Kyösti Kallio resigned on 27 November following a stroke on 27 August. The 1937 electoral college was recalled and elected Prime Minister Risto Ryti, who received 288 of the 300 votes. Most other Finnish politicians considered Ryti a principled, unselfish, intelligent and patriotic man, who could lead Finland effectively enough during World War II. His leadership qualities had been tested already during the Winter War (November 1939-March 1940). Also the outgoing President Kallio considered him the best available presidential candidate. In early December 1940, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, interfered with the Finnish presidential elections by claiming to the Finnish Ambassador to the Soviet Union, J.K. Paasikivi, that if potential presidential candidates such as Marshal Mannerheim, former President Svinhufvud or former Prime Minister Kivimäki were elected President, the Soviet government would consider Finland unwilling to fulfill its peace treaty with the Soviet Union. Due to the lingering threat of another war and the Karelian refugees' dispersal throughout Finland, regular presidential elections were cancelled, and instead the 1937 presidential electors were summoned to elect the President. Under these tense political circumstances, Ryti had no problem winning these exceptional presidential elections by a landslide (see, for example, Antti Laine, "Finland At War" (Suomi sodassa), pgs. 705-707 in Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of the Finnish History / Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen. Helsinki: WSOY, 2003; Pentti Virrankoski, A History of Finland / Suomen historia, volumes 1&2. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura), 2009, pg. 898).

1947 Estonian Supreme Soviet election

Elections to the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR were held on 16 February 1947. They were the first elections since the Estonian SSR was declared on 21 July 1940. The Bloc of Communists and Non-Party Candidates was the only party able to contest the elections, and won all 100 seats. Elected members included Joseph Stalin (Tallinn constituency 9), Vyacheslav Molotov (Tallinn constituency 2) and Andrei Zhdanov (Kohtla-Järve constituency no 84).

1951 Estonian Supreme Soviet election

Elections to the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR were held on 25 February 1951. The Bloc of Communists and Non-Party Candidates was the only party able to contest the elections, and won all 115 seats. Elected members included Joseph Stalin (Tallinn constituency no. 3), Vyacheslav Molotov (Tallinn constituency no. 18), Georgi Malenkov (Tallinn constituency no. 12) and Panteleimon Ponomarenko (Tallinn constituency no. 4).

Administrator of Affairs of the Soviet Union

The Administrator of Affairs of the Soviet Union, or Secretary to the Premier, was a high-standing officer within the Soviet Government whose main task was to co-sign, with the Premier of the Soviet Union, decrees and resolutions made by either the Council of People's Commissars (1922–1946), Council of Ministers (1946–1991) or the Cabinet of Ministers (1991). The government apparatus prepared items of policy, which the office holder would check systematically against decrees of the Party-Government. This function consisted of several departments and other structural units. The Soviet Government apparatus was headed by the Administrator of Affairs who, in accordance with the established order, was a member of the federal government body.

Death and state funeral of Joseph Stalin

On 5 March 1953, at 21:50 EET, Joseph Stalin, the second leader of the Soviet Union, died at the Kuntsevo Dacha aged 74 after suffering a stroke. After four days of national mourning, Stalin was given a state funeral and then buried in Lenin's Mausoleum on 9 March. Nikita Khrushchev, Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov and Lavrentiy Beria were in charge of organizing the funeral.

European Advisory Commission

The formation of the European Advisory Commission (EAC) was agreed on at the Moscow Conference on 30 October 1943 between the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, Anthony Eden, the United States, Cordell Hull, and the Soviet Union, Vyacheslav Molotov, and confirmed at the Tehran Conference in November. In anticipation of the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies this commission was to study the postwar political problems in Europe and make recommendation to the three governments, including the surrender of the European enemy states and the machinery of its fulfillment. After the EAC completed its task it was dissolved at the Potsdam Conference in August 1945.

Iosif Stalin-class passenger ship

The Iosif Stalin-class passenger ship was a two-strong class of large turbo-electric powered passenger ships, operated by the Soviet Baltic State Shipping Company (BGMP). The ships were taken over by the Soviet Navy during World War II and used as transport vessels. The class was named after Joseph Stalin.

The two Soviet ships Iosif Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov (after Vyacheslav Molotov) were constructed in 1939 by the Dutch company N.V. Nederlandsche Dok & Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM), in Amsterdam. The ships were intended for the Soviet Far East waters, but due to the outbreak of World War II, they were taken over by the BGMP. The ships were ready and left Amsterdam on 1 May 1940, only nine days prior the German occupation of the Netherlands.

List of Chairmen of the KGB

The Chairman of the KGB was the head of the Soviet KGB. He was assisted by one or two First Deputy Chairmen, and four to six Deputy Chairmen. He was also the head of the Collegium of the KGB— which consisted of the Chairman, deputy chairmen, Directorate Chiefs, and one or two republic-level KGB organization chairmen— who affected key policy decisions.

In 1934–1943 the Soviet State Security agency was part of People's Commissariat of Interior (NKVD) as Main Directorate of State Security (GUGB). Director of GUGB was the first deputy of People's Commissar of Interior.

Moscow Peace Treaty

The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March. It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War. Finland had to cede border areas to the Soviet Union. The treaty was signed by Vyacheslav Molotov, Andrey Zhdanov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky for Soviet Union, and Risto Ryti, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, Rudolf Walden and Väinö Voionmaa for Finland.

Perm Oblast

Until December 1, 2005, Perm Oblast (Russian: Пе́рмская о́бласть) was a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) in Privolzhsky (Volga) Federal District. According to the results of the referendum held in October 2004, Perm Oblast was merged with Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug to form Perm Krai.

It was established in 1938 as part of the RSFSR.

From 1940 to 1957 it was named Molotov Oblast in honor of Vyacheslav Molotov.

The oblast was named after its administrative center, the city of Perm. The oblast covered an area of 160,600 km², and as of the 2002 Census its population was 2,819,421.

Before the merger, neighboring oblasts and republics were (from north clockwise) Komi Republic, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Republic of Bashkortostan, Udmurt Republic, and Kirov Oblast.

Polina Zhemchuzhina

Polina Semyonovna Zhemchuzhina (born Perl Semyonovna Karpovskaya; 27 February 1897 – 1 April 1970) was a Soviet politician and the wife of the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Zhemchuzhina was the director of the Soviet national cosmetics trust from 1932 to 1936, Minister of Fisheries in 1939, and head of textiles production in the Ministry of Light Industry from 1939 to 1948.

In 1949, Zhemchuzhina was arrested by the Soviet secret police, charged with treason, and sent into internal exile, where she remained until after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953.

Russian locomotive class VM

The VM or BM (Cyrillic script) was an experimental Soviet diesel-electric locomotive named after Vyacheslav Molotov (Russian: Вячеслав Молотов). It was a two-unit machine of 2-Do-1+1-Do-2 wheel arrangement and only one pair of locomotives was built.

Soviet cruiser Molotov

Molotov (Russian: Молотов) was a Project 26bis Kirov-class cruiser of the Soviet Navy that served during World War II and into the Cold War. She supported Soviet troops during the Siege of Sevastopol, the Kerch-Feodosiya Operation and the amphibious landings at Novorossiysk at the end of January 1943.

The ship was extensively modernized between 1952 and 1955. She was renamed Slava (Russian: Слава, Glory) in 1957 after Vyacheslav Molotov fell out of favour. Slava was reclassified as a training ship in 1961 before being sold for scrap in 1972.

Soviet–Estonian Mutual Assistance Treaty

The Soviet–Estonian Mutual Assistance Treaty, also known as the Bases Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed in Moscow on 28 September 1939. The treaty obliged both parties to respect each other's sovereignty and independence, and allowed the Soviet government to establish military bases in Estonia. These bases facilitated the Soviet takeover of the country in June 1940.

It was signed by Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karl Selter and Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov. Ratifications were exchanged in Tallinn on 4 October 1939 and the treaty became effective on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 13 October 1939. The treaty of mutual assistance included the establishment of military bases in Estonia.

Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty

The Soviet–Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty was a bilateral treaty signed in Moscow on October 5, 1939. The treaty obliged both parties to respect each other's sovereignty and independence, while in practice allowed the Soviet government to establish military bases in Latvia, which facilitated the Soviet invasion of that country in June 1940.

It was signed by Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vilhelms Munters and Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov. Ratifications were exchanged in Riga on October 11, 1939, and the treaty became effective on the same day. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on November 6, 1939.

Trans-Baikal Railway

The Trans-Baikal Railway (Забайкальская железная дорога) is a subsidiary of the Russian Railways headquartered in Chita and serving Zabaykalsky Krai and Amur Oblast. The mainline was built between 1895 and 1905 as part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. It bordered the Circum-Baikal Railway on the west and the Chinese Eastern Railway on the east. The railway bore the name of Vyacheslav Molotov between 1936 and 1943. The Amur Railway became part of the network in 1959. As of 2009, the railway employs 46 741 people; its route length totals 3336,1 km.


Tsolikouri (Georgian: ცოლიკოური) is a light yellow-skinned white grape variety grown mainly in western Imereti district of Georgia. It cultivated in Kolkhida Lowland at an altitude of 160 m (520 ft) above sea level.Out of 400 different types of grapes in the country, Tsolikouri is among the most widespread varieties. Nearly 90% of vineyards in western Georgia grow Tsolikauri. This sort usually matures by mid October. Grown in Orzhonikidze vineyards during Soviet rule of Georgia, Tsolikouri was considered one of high-quality grapes along with Chkhaveri and Izabella varieties. It has been used for production of premium dry, semi-sweet and semi-dry wines.

Tsolikauri, Kolkheti, Lelo, Tvishi wines are made from Tsolikouri grapes. According to former Soviet statesman Vyacheslav Molotov, Tsolikouri was one of favorite wines of Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.

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